What is Hansard?
Hansard is the name of the daily near verbatim transcript of the Legislative Assembly’s proceedings. All Canadian provinces and territories, and the Canadian House of Commons, produce their own Hansard.
Why do we have Hansard and who uses it?
Hansard provides a public, accessible, permanent, and near word-for-word transcript of proceedings of what the Members of the Legislative Assembly discuss while they’re in Session.
Through Hansard, NWT residents can review House proceedings, including commitments from the Cabinet and Regular Members, questions asked by MLAs on behalf of their constituents, reviews of the budget, debate of bills, and more.
Hansard is used by media professionals, researchers, employees of the Government of the Northwest Territories, community governments and groups, and the public.
Where can I read Hansard?
You can read and search the official NWT Hansard here on the Legislative Assembly website. Online records are available starting with the first session of the 14th Assembly (19 from January 19, 2009): http://www.assembly.gov.nt.ca/documents-proceedings/hansard/14/1.
If you visit the Legislative Library in person, you can view Hansard records going back to December 1951. Otherwise, contact the Legislative Librarian by phone, fax, mail, or email for help with your questions.
Phone: (867) 767-9132 ext 12056
Fax: (867) 873-0207
Why is it called ’Hansard’?
In 1803, Thomas Curson Hansard was one of the first publishers to print a record of the proceedings of the British Parliament.
For the rest of the 19th century, the Hansard family continued to publish their record as a private business. The British House of Commons took over production in 1909, over a century after Thomas Hansard’s first publication.
Today, the Official Report of the British Parliament is known by Thomas Hansard’s name, and the records are a public service expected of Commonwealth parliaments for transparency and accessibility.
For more information, visit http://parlipapers.chadwyck.co.uk/marketing/about_hansard.jsp.
How is Hansard produced?
When the Legislative Assembly is in session, proceedings are recorded and broadcast on television and radio. A team of transcriptionists use the recordings to transcribe the proceedings.
The Legislative Librarian and the Hansard Editor work with the rest of the Hansard team to make sure that Hansard is an accurate and useful record of what happens in the House.
When the transcriptionists have finished their part of the job, the Hansard Editor from the Clerk’s Office looks over the document, checks it against the recording and makes corrections to grammar, spelling, or style, without affecting the meaning of what was said during session. Consistent spellings improve word-searches and formatting makes Hansard easier to read.
A draft version of Hansard, called “the Blues,” is available to the public the next day, and MLA’s may check the document and request corrections.
When the final draft is ready, it’s printed for the Legislative Library’s records and shared on the Legislative Assembly’s website.